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Basic Lovebird Care

Removal to a strange new place is a traumatic and stressful experience to a baby lovebird. Because of this, place your new bird in a quiet place for at least one day before you start handling or training it. This gives it time to adjust to its new surroundings. Watch it carefully to make sure it has found its food and water dishes and is eating and drinking. If you have a scale appropriate for weighing your bird, try to weigh it every day and make sure it's total weight does not drop more than 10%. If you have other birds your baby should be placed in a separate room from other birds for 30 - 45 days quarantine.

Spend as much time as you can with your bird. The more you have it out of the cage and with you the more it'll want to be with you. If not played with often they will revert to their more natural pugnaciousness.

Cage Size: Birds should have a cage large enough to spread and flap their wings without hitting anything, include toys, at least 15X15X18 inches. It is also important that the width in between each horizontal bar of the cage is 1/2" or less so that your bird can't stick its head through the bars and get hurt. Black and white newspaper is the best covering for the bottom of the cage. Colored newsprint has lead in the ink, which is toxic to your bird. Some news companies have swithched to soy based ink so check with your newspaper. I recommend a water bottle for drinking, different size perches for its feet, and a terra cotta perch for its nails and beak. Clean the cage as often as your sense of good housekeeping dictates but at least once a week. Provide a cuttlebone, mineral block and toys for your bird to chew on. Toys are important because lovebirds are natural acrobats. They love to swing on things so anything hanging is a true joy.

Food: Your bird has been eating Hagen, a pelleted food, with vegetables greens, pastas, beans, seeds, rices, breads and fruits alternated daily. For freshness I suggest that you store seed in the freezer. Storage in the freezer will also cut down on the moths that love to nest in bird seed!

Tricks: Your bird can learn to do many tricks. Work with the bird for short periods of time a few times each day. Teach the trick in stages and always offer a treat for each phase. Commands for tricks should include verbal and visual commands. For example, one of the first things your bird should be taught is to "Step up." The verbal command is "step up," and the visual command is an extended finger near the breast of the bird. Say step up, it should do so. If not gently push on it's chest to make it respond. Keep doing this while having it step from one index finger to the other. Keep your training sessions limited to 10-15 minutes and always offer a treat for the least bit of a response.

Potty Training: You can also potty train your bird. In this case, the verbal command is very important. Choose a word or phrase for the action like, "go stinky" or "potty" or whatever you feel comfortable with. The first step is to watch your bird and learn its body movements before it goes. Then, take it to where you want it to go, holding its tail down. Give the verbal command and a lot of praise if your bird does go. Allow the bird to resume its previous activity. If your bird makes a mistake, pick him up, saying firmly "no, bad bird" and take him to where he is supposed to go, giving the verbal command. Then, some sort of discipline is necessary, for example cage time for five minutes. The initial punishment should not be severe at all. Five minutes is adequate. As the training progresses however, a mistake should be punished with increasingly more time out.

Toxins: Chocolate, avocado and Teflon cookware are very toxic to your bird. Cooking with Teflon can kill your bird within minutes even if the bird is on the other side of the house so please be careful, and try not to use any type of non-stick cookware. Fruit seeds are also toxins, they contain arsenic. Anything with an odor could be a toxin. Your bird has a very small respiratory system. Miners use canaries to go down into the minds because they will die before a human will even smell the first fume.

Your bird's wings should be clipped for it's own safety . It will still be able to fly enough to stop itself from falling but not enough to gain any height. One flight feather will allow your bird to gain height so keep it's wings clipped. Also a bird with clipped wings is a calmer and sweeter bird.

Your baby should always be taken in to an Avian vet for a well baby check up. This will give the vet a good base line to go by if the bird should become sick.

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